Before beginning a dock project, do some research and planning. Evaluate your needs and whether there are alternative ways to meet them. You can save a lot of capital investment and prevent shoreline damage by making use of existing structures and facilities instead of building your own.
1. The property I am thinking of purchasing has an existing dock, but it is in bad shape. Should I repair it or just build a new one?
2. Can I leave my dock in the water during the winter?
3. I’m looking for a place to moor a boat but I don’t have a dock. What else can I do?
1. If you are buying a property with a dock, ensure that it is in good condition. If it is need of repair, and depending on the type of dock it is, you may need a work permit to either renovate or put in a new one. When repairing or rebuilding a dock, choose non-toxic building materials whenever possible. Consider building a floating or post supported dock, which allows for movement of fish and wildlife. Permanent docks are less favored because of their environmental impact and there is likely less chance of obtaining a permit to rebuild a permanent dock.
2. Permanent docks can provide year round access. When built properly, they are stable and can last for years. However, many still suffer damage in areas that experience harsh winters. They are also costly and require more materials and construction to build. Supports made from cribs or concrete piers can permanently alter the shoreline causing environmental damage. If you must build a permanent dock, ensure the appropriate permits are obtained and keep in mind it may be difficult to get one!
3. There are several alternatives you can consider if your primary need is for somewhere to moor a boat. If you can, use mooring buoys. They are cheaper and far less likely to impact the environment than docks. You can also check for public access points, a nearby marina, or consider sharing a dock with a neighbour.